Anxiety. Tension. Happiness. Fear. Excitement. I huddled behind the starting line, these emotions running through my head, and I knew I was ready; I was gonna run 3 miles at League Finals, my very last cross country race. Get ready for dramatic Kanga post.
I was surrounded by Whitney gold jerseys to the right and Sage green jerseys to the left. This was one of the first times when I was actually EXCITED to start a race. Usually I’m yankin my brain out in anticipation, but that day I knew it was my last race. It’s like I was running into my last battle, armed with a Desert Eagle and a Holy Hand Grenade, knowing that I’d kill some Nazis and come home alive to feed my wife and two-year-old baby. YEAH! Well actually it wasn’t like that at all.
“On your marks…”
We stepped up to the line.
We held our breath.
HAHA just kidding. I didn’t fart. We all sped out of there like a herd of African Americans running to the polls to vote for Obama. Oh and you know that would be fast. ‘EY OH!
The first mile went the same as it did the last 4 years. I wasn’t as fast as I should’ve been, since I got some sort of puss sucked out of my foot and didn’t run for a couple weeks, but I still stayed pretty close to the front. I was really happy to see the gold jerseys running in front of me, Paul, Alvin, Will, Charles. REPRESENT.
After charging up the hill and rolling down it (I LITERALLY TRIPPED AND ROLLED DOWN THE HILL! Just kidding. Could you imagine, though?!), I reached the one mile mark. Before the race, Cindy said I was gonna cry while I ran because it was my last race. And yknow what… well I didn’t cry, but I got all emotional! My head said to me “This is the last time you’ll run with this team… EVER…”, and I swear, for a those few seconds, my heart turned into of Jell-O. I melted inside. I felt it. I was running to the end, my inevitable finish line.
…And then I sucked it up and took it like a man! I punched a tiny squirrel to deny my feelings!! Just kidding again. But seriously, enough with the emotions, I sucked it up and continued with my race.
I could feel my body slowly weakening. It hadn’t run 3 miles in a row for too long now. We ran and curved out of the wooded part of the course, making our way to the long stretch near the camps. That’s when I started pacing with a guy. I eventually found out this Sage guy was named Sky (who looked nothing like the sky, I dunno what his parents were thinking), and I decided to draft off of him on this long straight away. Yes, draft like in Mario Kart.
I stayed behind Sky until we started to come up to the people cheering. Then I saw my team! YAR! I love it when I’m cheered for. I feel worth.
I saw Cindy ready to take a picture. “Aw snap, I need an awesome picture” I thought, and sped past Sky for a little running pose with him. HEHEHE. Now that I think about it, I should’ve done something cooler instead of just speed past him. OH I should’ve totally pants him. He would’ve been all “Oh no! You can see my boxers!”, and I would’ve been all “Thas right! You nekkid!”, and it would’ve been totally funny because he would have red hearts all over his underwear. That would’ve been totally cool.
Anyway, after the stretch I backed down a bit and drafted a little more. I started my last mile and realized… MY FOOT WASN’T HURTING! I felt pain a LITTLE in the first mile, but not in the second! THIS MUST’VE BEEN A BLESSING!! That just gave me more reason to kick some butt, primarily Sky’s.
We reached the last hill and we both started to pick up the pace! I think Sky thought I was gonna slow down, and I thought HE was gonna slow down, and I bet someone somewhere thought we were BOTH gonna slow down! But he didn’t, I didn’t, and I don’t know how that third person knew we were racing. I reached the top of the hill and I realized… I have to try harder. I was so confident (99.99%, in fact) that JV Guys were gonna win this race, but… would I be the deciding factor? Was I the guy that needed to score that point to win it for us? THIS ISN’T HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE, thought I.
I came to the downhill and Sky was at least 20 meters ahead now. I guess I slowed down. “Alright… I don’t think I’ll catch him… I can try, but I dunno..”. Then Coach Eric saw me.
The following are coach’s words vs. my thoughts:
Coach: “Cmon Kevin! Let’s go!”
C: “Cmon, you have 450 meters to go! Pick it up!”
K: “I know! I’m trying! I’ll pick it up at the end of this downhill…”
C: “Kevin! You better not do this in track!”
K: “OH. HELL. NO.”
I do believe that was the first I ever thought of the word “hell” instead of “heck”, not counting the mocking times. I even think I mumbled the phrase out loud! Oh man I’m horribly rated G.
I now imagined my name in black letters, flaming bright red and yellow. Coach unleashed Fire Kevin. In front of me were a bunch of people I had to eat up, including Sky. “I AM GONNA CATCH ONE OF THEM, I KNOW THAT!”
I turned the sharp corner and began my sprint of the last 300 meters of the race. Sky just passed a green guy. I ran around the curve and suddenly saw half a dozen of my family members on the sideline, telling me to kick it in.
“AAHHHH SNAP” I passed the green guy in the back.
200 meters and I was sprinting my butt off. I did my job, I beat one of the green guys… BUT I STILL NEEDED BUTTS TO KICK!
150 meters I was gaining on Sky.
100 meters I decided to take him.
I wasn’t planning on trying to beat him. He was too far ahead… but now, now only 5 meters separated me and him, and I had to get to the finish first. We were both pushing ourselves to the limit. 80 meters. I could hear more cheers for me and I gave it my all. 60 meters. I distrubted all of my anxiety, tension, happiness, fear, and excitement throughout my entire body. 50 meters. I could feel my joints bending, my muscles flexing, my heart thumping. 40 meters. I pushed my body over the edge and inched my way up to my rival.
Then, just as fast as I inched closer to him, I pulled ahead.
I ran passed the finish line into the guy in front of me, beating Sky by one second. I turned around and saw him as dead as me. I did one of those manly high five shakes, and said “Good job man.”. Or at least that’s what I meant to say. I think it came out as “Oh God… g’… jearb… -pant pant-“. One of the most exciting races I’ve ever run.
Final Time: 19:48
So, after 3 pairs of shoes, 4 seasons of running, 30+ races, 70 or so different siblings, 90+ race miles, and an infinite amount of countries, I’ve finally made it to the finish line. You’d think I’d be sad that it’s all over… but… I’m just so happy that it all happened. I really haven’t talked about cross country that much on my Kanga this year, and I think I should give it more credit for being such a big part of my life. This post is just for me to make a declaration, while I still can, that I have yet to emphasize all year: I love cross country.